SJ is part of a local writers group in Senoia that meets the third Saturday of every month at 10 a.m. at the Senoia Library.  You can also follow more of her writing at

As the Holidays approach us, it is time to count our blessings. To me it seems like Thanksgiving is not a forgotten holiday, but one whose real meaning is skipped over.
In the retail world the stores go from selling Halloween supplies and decorations to immediately posting sales, supplies, decorations, and things for Christmas. There is no pause in between for Thanksgiving. Kids go from thinking about the types of candy they will get in their treat bags to dreaming of what they hope Santa will leave under the tree. They simply see Thanksgiving as another day off school in which there is lots of yummy food to eat, only barely understanding the significance of the holiday as it is taught to us in history class.
We all know the story of the Pilgrims and their journey to the new land. We have heard of their sacrificing all they knew to journey to an unknown place in search of the freedoms they desired. We also know that their first winter was a hard one and if it hadn’t been for the help of the local natives they would have starved to death. This day of Thanksgiving is in commemoration of the grand feast they shared together, putting aside all differences and enjoying the bounty that nature had to offer and being truly grateful for it.
The question is how does that translate to us now? That wonderful feast happened hundreds of years ago, before our nation was even a nation. The values of today have changed and are very different from what they were then. Due to the modern conveniences of running water and electricity it seems we lack for nothing. Our hearts go only in search of the material things rather than those things necessary for survival, making us a petty and selfish society as a whole.
The other day the reality of this was brought to the immediate forefront of my mind when I was approached by a homeless woman in downtown Atlanta, all her worldly belongings piled up beside her, begging for change on the sidewalk. I don’t usually carry any cash on me, but for some reason today I had some change jangling around in my pocket. It wasn’t much, but I was happy to help her in any way I could. As I fished the change out of my pocket, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. The weather has recently turned from warm evenings to a crisp, cool 32 degrees with a light layer of frost on the ground. As I bid her good day and walked towards my car, I couldn’t help but wonder what her nights were like.
I have been fortunate enough to have an education and support of my family to fall back on so that I may never know hunger and homelessness. Even when things get rough, I know that I can always reach out to those that I love for the help I need. I have always been truly grateful for that, but as I was seeing in this poor homeless lady, not everyone has someone to help them. I have been fortunate to never go hungry, but it was evident to me that this lady had to wonder where her next meal was going to come from. She had to depend on the kindness of strangers to help raise the funds to eat. That is a tough thing in today’s society. We are not a trusting group of people. I myself have been guilty of not wanting to shell out money to those who ask for fear that it may be a scam of some sort. Seeing her hardship really made me think about the things I had in my life: money, love, and family and for once be truly grateful for the things I take for granted.
So as you crawl into your nice warm bed tonight and any cold night to come, think of those who do not have that luxury and be truly grateful. Say a prayer for those who have nothing. Pray that they may find their way into not only a better life but one that is as full of blessings as yours it. Take a moment to think of all that you are thankful for and help to reestablish what this holiday really means. Count your blessings to know what you are truly thankful for.